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Twisting all the bad things into good

Oct 10, 2011

The Nitty Gritty, Part 6: Feet That Race To Do Wrong

He said,"Son, when you grow up
Would you be the savior of the broken
the beaten and the damned?"
He said,"Will you defeat them?
Your demons?
And all the non-believers?
The plans that they have made"
MCR, Welcome To The Black Parade 


            For some unknown reason, I was buzzing about what a great time I had in Vegas. I was in my living room telling the whole Criss Angel story. I can't remember who I was telling it to, but I guess it doesn't really matter since they weren't there anyway. You would think that hearing this going on, my roommate would have came out of his room and said, "Jim, there's nobody here. You've been talking to yourself. You've lost your shit." I'm going to guess that my roommate was not in the apartment while this was going on because there's no way anyone could feel safe knowing the person they live with, who could just walk into their bedroom while they slept and slice their throat with a throwing knife they've had since they were 10, could be this far gone. Either that or he was just really into whatever he was reading. Since he was an aspiring screenwriter maybe he was just in there taking notes, waiting to see what I would do next, wondering what kind of ending I might give him to write. Maybe he was just scared. He never confronted me about this, even when neighbors started telling him about things they saw me doing around the neighborhood.

            Up to Sunday afternoon, nobody had been witness to my madness except for my roommate. I had no idea I was experiencing visual and audible hallucinations. If anyone would have told me any different, I would have accused them of being crazy. It was my reality. Me and my "reality" were about to take this one man freak show to the streets and start interacting with people, "real" people, even though at the time I made no distinction. It was going to be a long day.  

            For months I had been telling my father on the phone how unhappy I had become with my living situation.  I guess that is why when he "appeared" at my apartment that day, he decided to sit me and my roommate down in the living room to talk this whole thing out. I can't say that I remember the circumstances of why he was there, but he was, so I didn't question it. My dad basically told us that we were friends and we needed to communicate. Even though my roommate was 40, my dad spoke to him as if he were a kid, much like his 34 year old son was. So there I was, sitting in the living room on the sofa with my roommate (who in reality was either in his bedroom or out of the apartment) getting lectured by my dad (who was actually in Philadelphia). When my dad finished his lecture and stepped away, my roommate leans over and whispers, "Your dad's talking to me like I'm one of those Slumdog Millionaire kids". I have no idea what that meant, but I laughed. After all, it was really my joke.

            My father called me into my room a few minutes later. He was pissed. He told me that he was going for a run and that I needed to get rid of my drug paraphernalia and Playboy magazines while he was gone. After I was done with this dreaded chore, I had to go wash my car.  The car actually belonged to him. Since by the time I totaled my Mustang I had pretty much ruined my credit, he let me drive his car from Philadelphia, and take over the payments that I would send to him, which for the most part, I never had the money to do. He was upset with me and said the car was a disgrace. Even in reality, it was a disgrace. But so was I. I don't think I had ever washed it and my dad is basically the type to clean his car at a red light. If he really was in my apartment, he would have reacted the exact same way, right down to the use of his final word, "disgrace", before leaving angrily for his run.

            As I begrudgingly disposed of  my extensive collection of bongs and bimbo magazines after taking a mental picture of some of my favorite issues, I got a call on my old phone, the one that had started mysteriously receiving texts and calls on Friday. It was my mom telling me that my dad had just died after getting hit by a drunk driver while running. I started freaking out. He had just left a few minutes ago, so he couldn't haven't gotten too far. I asked where it happened and she told me at A1A and Spanish River, which was about a mile North of me. I told her I was going down there even though she told me not to. I told her I was going to find out who the drunk driver was before he is taken from the scene. For some reason, I imagined the driver was just sitting on the curb while police inspected the crime scene. I threw on my Nike Shox while my mom pleads with me not to go. As I leave my apartment, I yell into the phone," I'M GONNA FIND OUT WHO IT IS, THEN I'M GONNA TRACK THEM DOWN AND I'M GONNA KILL 'EM!" The voice in my head, that I thought was my mom, begged me not to go.
            I hung up and sprinted down 5 floors of stairs and into the parking garage and right passed my car, which would have taken me to the scene of the crime considerably quicker than my feet. I'm not sure if it was because I hadn't slept or eaten in so long, or just that I was completely fucking insane in the membrane,  but as soon as I got out of the garage and onto the street, I began to run like I had never run in my life. I can say with confidence that no man had ever run like this. I took off at full speed... into the most utterly ri-goddamn-diculous running stride in the history of running or mental illness. Picture the feet attempting something that kind of, but in no way,  resembles  highstepping, while completely out of sync with the knees, that are being raised high enough to clear a 2 foot high hurdle with every jerk off step taken, while the arms move as if aggressively racewalking. Now imagine that the arms and legs are completely oblivious to the fact that they are connected to the same person, who is displaying the kind of intensity necessary to run the first 3 minute mile. Now imagine that this running man  has not had a good night sleep in almost 6 months, has not eaten in nearly a week,  and is obviously suffering some type of psychosis.

            I continued with my crazylegs running to the top of my street and made a left onto A1A. Instead of running along the bike and running path right in front of me, I immediately cut across both lanes of A1A. I didn't even think about stopping for traffic or even taking the time to give the finger to the drivers who slammed on  their horns and screamed profanities at me as they passed. I didn't care. I was insane. I was on my way to attempting to commit my first homicide. I had absolutely no regard for the cars behind me who pretty much had to drift into the oncoming lane or else come within a foot of my flailing left arm to pass me.  I continued running like an escaped mental patient as far as I could before my body could not go any further, which was barely 50 yards. I decided I better walk a little bit if I didn't want to die before I got a chance to kill my father's killer. I called my sister on my magical phone to tell her that our father had been killed. She said, "Really? That sucks." I got angry. I snapped at her,"Dad's dead, and that's all you say?" She told me she didn't know what I expected her to do about it, so I hung up.

            I came to my senses as much as a deranged and delusional lunatic possibly could and realized that being arrested for murder within 10 minutes of my father's death might ruin my mom's day. I decided to go home. I hadn't got very far.

            When I walked back into my apartment, I saw someone was laying on the sofa, and I knew it wasn't my roommate. I walked over to see my dad laying there. I knelt down next to him and switching from a state of homicidal panic to a huge sense of relief. "Dad, I thought you were dead?" He said that he was hit by a car that ran off the road and crashed. He said he was okay though and he just needed to lay down for a few minutes. I was thirsty from my run, so I went into the kitchen and drank a glass of water. I walked over to my dad and I realized that he passed away while I was in the kitchen. I realized that he said he was alright just so I wouldn't be scared. I fell to my knees at his side, and burst into tears, crying out, " Dad, dad, dad. Please don't be dead, you can't die! Please!" After a few minutes, I finally composed myself somewhat. I said, "I love you, dad. There's nobody else I would have rather had for my father". I told him that I was sorry for not being a better son and for all the times that I stayed home instead of going away with the family, and just how lucky I was to have had him for my dad. Then I completely lost my shit again. I remember that the only comfort I could feel at that moment was that I was glad that I could be there with him when he passed away. I was sick to my stomach when earlier I had thought he died alone on a street corner with no one but strangers around while he was no doubt thinking about his family. I still felt bad that I had left the room to get water and wasn't there to hold his hand and be the last thing he saw as he passed away.

            Even though I was full on hallucinating, this was reality to me, so my emotions were as real as if this was really happening. Hallucination or not, it was still the worst day of my life.  So now, not only was I completely delusional, but I was more of an emotional wreck than I had ever been in my entire life. This was not ants crawling on my rug, or phantom knocks on my door, or even a run in with a celebrity illusionist and his thugs. Delusion or not, this kind of grief was enough to ruin someone. Add that to the clinical depression, withdrawal from 5 years of opiate addiction, 6 months of insomnia, years of guilt, and the months of solitude. These afflictions were already so unbearable that you would have welcomed death were it not for the pain that came with it. Now there was the perceived death of a parent, not to mention the psychosis that has overtaken your mind, controlling everything you see and hear. This was a deadly concoction. I was a walking time bomb with absolutely no control of when I would go off. This would not be pretty. It was going to get downright ugly.  A happy ending could not be expected. If I had any hold of reality at this point, it was about to slip away. If I had not already completely snapped, a few hours would be too generous. I had no idea how deranged I already was. There was no doubt that I was going over the edge. I was going to cross a line that most people never come close to. The only question was when, and if I would ever come back. If I was still hanging on to the edge, I was about to let go.
            As I continued to cry like no man should ever cry, my mom (who was also in Philadelphia, probably at a movie with my dad), walked in. I told her what happened. She was surprisingly calm. She said that all the traffic was backed up because of the crash. I asked who the driver was. She said he had already been taken away from the scene. I asked if the car involved was still there. She said it was, so I decided I was going to get this imaginary driver's imaginary  license plate number before their imaginary car was taken from the scene so that I could track them down and, of course, kill them.
            My mom told me to stay as the door closed behind me. Once I  hit the ground floor, I broke into my absurd attempt at running again. As a kid I ran track and ran the Philadelphia Marathon when I was 10, but watching me run this way, you would guess that I had only heard of this whole running thing, but had never actually seen anyone attempt it. As I ran, for lack of a better word , I was still crying like a little girl when I saw one of my neighbors walking towards me in the garage. I quickly read his mind so I knew he was thinking, "What the fuck's up with this guy?". He never said it out loud, and even though I had never spoke to this person, I shouted, " My dad just died!", as I passed him. Then I ran right passed my car...again.

            Same thing as before, I continue my maniacal running style down A1A, for about 20 yards at a stretch, then I'd walk, then I'd start my hurdle-highstepping bullshit again. I realized that crying like a baby does not help your cardio, not to mention the whole insomnia and malnutrition thing I had going on. I continued my ludicrous "running" intervals until I finally got close enough to see the intersection of A1A and Spanish River, where the vehicular manslaughter in question had occurred.  I realized that the scene of this crime that never happened had already been cleared so there was no point going any further. For some reason, it didn't even look like there had been any accident.

            I started walking back and I noticed a small sign stuck in the ground with 2 balloons attached to it. There was an arrow drawn in marker on the cheap little sign that pointed toward the beach, indicating a party. I naturally assumed it was in memory of my dad. Even though it had been less than 30 minutes since my father had  even left to go jogging, and maybe 15 minutes since I found him expired on my sofa, I didn't think it was strange that a memorial on the beach had already been put together.

            I stood there for a few minutes, trying to find a path through the trees and brush so I could make my way to the beach. I assumed that every person that I saw crossing  A1A to go to the beach was there for my dad's memorial. I had never seen any of these "mourners"  before. Ignoring the fact that my dad had left Florida in 1995, had not returned since, and did not know anybody in the whole state, I was really touched by all the people coming to pay their respects. My eyes welled up and the tears started to fall again.

            I walked towards a boardwalk that lead to the beach. I stopped at the point where the boardwalk reached the street when I saw a family of 3 leaving the beach. I stood at the top of the boardwalk as if I was there to greet people. I composed myself and wiped my eyes with my sweaty ass wife beater. Though I had never seen these people before, I told them that I was "the son", thanked them and told them I really appreciated them coming out. They just walked by me without responding.

            I walked down to the beach. Everybody was broken into small groups and scattered. It was like they didn't know each other.  I went and stood a few yards from the biggest group of people I saw. There were about 5 or 6 of them sitting in a small circle in their beach chairs. I just stood off to the side for a few minutes, thinking about my dad. I noticed that they were looking over at me, and I thought I heard them saying, "That's his son". I acted like I didn't know they were talking about me. I think I actually was enjoying the sympathy they must have been feeling while they discussed how devastated I must be. Even though I was devastated, I admit that I did play it up. I felt like I was some kind of psychotic guest of honor. I sat and just stared down at the sand and then would look out at the ocean like I was contemplating how my life would be without my dad. Once I realized that the party must not be starting for awhile, I figured if I was going to be shaking hands and hugging people, I should go shower while I had some time.

           When I got to the boardwalk and out of sight of the early arrivals, I started crying again. Some lady and her little girl were approaching the boardwalk. I wiped my eyes, but there was no hiding the fact that I had been crying, but I knew they understood and just felt sad for me. I didn't recognize them either, but I sniffled and forced a little smile and said, "Hi, everyone's down there", and pointed to the people I had been sitting by. She ignored me too.

            I crossed A1A and I thought maybe some of the people thought the memorial party  was in Spanish River  Park. I crossed the street and as I walked towards the entrance, it suddenly hit me again that my dad was gone, and the tears started again. My eyes had to be shot at this point. There was no hiding the fact that I had been crying and that there was something obviously going on with me that went beyond being "really sad".
             As I approached the Spanish River Park ranger station that served as a sort of guard gate to enter the grounds, there were 3 park rangers out front. The sign said park closed, but I continued past it since I was on foot and the sign was only for cars. I just walked by the sign, the gate that was down, and the Park Ranger telling me that the park was closed.  My face and eyes red as stoplights, I just kept walking. My dad had just died. Rules did not apply to me today. The Ranger raised his voice this time, "Hey! The parks closed." I turned around with my hands on my hips, and looked at him as if to say,"Hey, isn't it obvious by the look on my face that my dad just died and my pain is not subject to park hours?" He must not have been good at reading people because he told me again that I couldn't go in. Instead of just leaving, I paced back and forth and then sat on a guard rail just inside the gate he told me not to pass. The 3 of them didn't say anything to me after that, but would continue to look over at me as I just sat there, trying to prove some kind of  point.
            Looking back, they would have done me a huge favor if they had just called the police and had my crazy ass locked up right then. It would have saved me from enduring some terrifying shit. After a few minutes of this, I decided to walk back towards the beach. I tried to text my ex-girlfriend to let her know my dad had died. Since it had been 2 years and I had never completely got over the breakup, I was hoping for a little sympathy and whatever else I could milk out of this devastating event. For some reason, I couldn't get her number right or simply had forgotten how the whole concept of texting worked. It may have had something to do with the fact that the phone had not received service or been charged in 2 years. Those details didn't stop me from receiving another call on that same phone a few minutes later. It was my best friend, Jeff. He told me to get home. In a show of support, he said that the guys were all coming over. He also mentioned that a friend of ours had posted a graphic crime scene photo on FaceBook showing my dad's body. As I walked along  A1A towards my apartment,  I ordered Jeff to call and tell this person that I demanded it be taken down immediately. I obviously forgot that my dad had made it back to my apartment before he passed away, but I had a lot going on. Jeff said he would make sure that the picture was taken down. He told me to just get home because everyone was getting worried about me.

            Even though there was no "everyone",  it was already beyond time to start worrying.  I can be an overly sensitive and highly emotional person on a normal day. I was already way too far gone to realize that the events of the last few days were far from anything resembling normal. The experiences that I totally accepted as reality were simply ridiculous. Ridiculous is not even the right word. It was fucking absurd. I had no cable or internet, so I had completely lost touch with reality. Thank God I couldn't go on Facebook and start posting that I had been in Vegas and that my dad died. Since I was totally isolated, there was nobody to tell me that something was seriously wrong. Nobody to recognize that I was in desperate need of help before I inevitably hurt myself or someone else. Anyone who did notice my odd behavior was right to choose to not approach me in my condition. I had experienced a complete mental breakdown that had resulted in serious psychosis, and that  was BEFORE I thought my father died.  This was becoming an extremely dangerous situation and was bound to end badly. And it would.

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